Trek the Best of the Lycian Way on Turkey's Mediterranean Coast


Global Adventure - Trek the Best of the Lycian Way on Turkey's Mediterranean Coast

TREK THE BEST OF TURKEY'S LYCIAN WAY. Hike 96 miles with an expert guide along Turkey's Mediterranean coast from Oludeniz to Antalya, gazing out across the turquoise sea from high cliffs, walking white-sand beaches, wandering among the ruins and tombs of ancient Lycia, Greece and Rome, and experiencing a rural village and nomadic lifestyle that is truly unique to this narrow strip between the high Taurus mountains and the sea. Cruise and swim over sunken ruins and stay in a city topped by a castle built by the Knights of Rhodes upon ancient Lycian foundations. Visit a 6th-century church covered with vibrant frescoes of the life of St Nicholas. Watch the unending flames of the Chimaera. End the trip with a climb up Mt Olympos and an exploration of the lovely old town and medieval harbor of Antalya. Stay in small village homes and hotels, eat simple but delicious homemade meals, and carry only a daypack. MEMBER FEE SHOWN IS THE DEPOSIT ONLY. See Leader Notes for full pricing details.

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 96.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 16,072 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 7,754 ft
  • Pace: 2 mph

Continue on to this adventure from the Istanbul-Carian Way trekking adventure, or fly into Dalaman Turkey via Istanbul.  Arrive no later than mid-day Sunday April 17, 2022 in Dalaman (or arrive the day before and stay nearby) - we'll pick you up on our way from the Carian Way adventure and transfer to our hotel in the pastoral village of Kayakoy.  We’ll end our trek in Antalya on April 28, spend the next day touring the city and the ruins of Termessos and a Neolithic cave nearby, then fly out of Antalya on April 30, 2022.

Itinerary Highlights:   Most people think of Turkey for its mosques, ancient ruins and fantastic joining of eastern and western cultures.  What many may not know is that Turkey is also a growing trekking destination, with well-marked historic trails, great services and no crowds!  The Lycian Way is the oldest and best of Turkey's long historical trekking trails.

Our 11-day sampling of the Lycian Way will include the best 96 miles, starting at the western end at Oludeniz (above the famous Blue Lagoon), and ending with an optional non-technical climb to the top of Mt Olympos and descent into the seaside town of Antalya to the east.  Our route spends much of its time climbing and descending between white-sand coves and cliffs and bluffs covered with wildflowers and offering panoramic views across the aqua blue Mediterranean to islands off the coast.  We’ll pass through villages where the same pastoral lifestyle persists from centuries ago.  We’ll wander by old Roman cisterns and follow the 10-mile course of a Roman acqueduct that remains water-tight today.  And scattered all along the route, among the fields, trees and wild flowers, are the tumbled remains of Lycian civilization including ornately carved sarcophagi with their lids resting in the flowers.  We’ll board a boat and cruise for two hours over the sunken ruins of Kekova, taking a swim in the warm waters along the way, and ending the day  in the hillside town of Simena with a castle on top built by the Knights of Rhodes.  We’ll visit the ruins of a 10th century church now surrounded by grazing sheep and a nomadic herders camp.  We’ll see stunning frescoes in a 6th century church dedicated to St Nicholas.  And there’s so much more!

Our route ascends to the top of coastal ridges and bluffs and descends to the seacoast multiple times along the way – approx. 16,000’ total elevation gain and loss, on exceptionally rough and rocky trails. Trekking days will range from 6 to 12 miles with 250’ to over 3000’ daily gain.  Minibus transport will connect the various trail segments, and our luggage will be transported for us and food prepared for us along the way, so that we only need to carry a light daypack. Along the way we’ll stay in simple village hotels and homes, eat tasty local foods simply prepared, and enjoy the warm hospitality of the Turkish people. 

A note about personal security and insurance:  The US Department of State has had a level 3 advisory in place for Turkey since July of 2018 based on civil unrest, periodic terrorist attacks (sometimes targeting Western tourists) and occasional detentions of citizens and tourists for alleged affiliations with terrorist organizations based on scant or secret evidence and grounds that appear to be politically motivated. U.S. citizens have also been subject to travel bans that prevent them from departing Turkey.   However, Istanbul and the tourist areas of the southwest coast have been given a green light by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and US travel agencies are continuing or even expanding their trips into these areas.  Tourism in the region is booming!   However, some elevated risk of civil unrest or terrorist acts affecting our itinerary is there.  We will be watchful and avoid getting in the way of demonstrations or developing unrest, and if the situation becomes dangerous we will change our itinerary or, in an extreme case, cancel the trip.  Each prospective participant must weigh their sense of the risk in their decision, as well as being prepared in case something happens.  Most travel insurance policies do not cover cancellation of a trip due to civil unrest UNLESS you buy their ‘Cancel for Any Reason’ coverage, which must be purchased within the first two weeks after your first payment and must cover all non-refundable trip expenses.  Even then you will get only 50-75% of your trip expenses back (nothing if you cancel after 48 hours before your scheduled departure or during your trip) and the Mountaineers won’t be able to refund any expenses that can’t be refunded to us by our outfitters and lodgings.  See for more guidance.

Time of Year:   We’ll travel during April-May, when wildflowers are at their peak, snow is melting from the peaks, and weather is warm but not hot and crowds haven’t yet begun to swarm. 

Lodging:   Basic village homes and hotels, plus nice 3-star hotels in larger towns (double occupancy). Bathroom facilities may be shared and could be quite basic in some places.

Food:   We’ll enjoy simple traditional Turkish meals along our route, mostly prepared for us in our lodgings.  Turkish food is an addictive mix of sun-ripened vegetables with olive oil, spices and roasted meats, a fusion of Asian, Ottoman and Western.  Vegetarian diets can easily be accommodated but other special diets may be more challenging. 

Leader’s Experience:   Cheryl Talbert has led many Mountaineers hikes and several Mountaineers and private backpacks, treks and cultural trips around the U.S. west and worldwide, including a group trip to Istanbul, the Aegean, along the Lycian Way and to Cappadocia in 2015.

Strenuousness or Difficulty rating:   This itinerary is rated moderate-to-strenuous, less because of sheer distance and gain and more because of the very rugged and rocky trails that are common across the southwest coast of Turkey.   

Limit:   Maximum of 12, minimum of ten, including the leader.

Participant Requirements:   Must be a current Mountaineers member with an up-to-date waiver on file. This outing includes hiking for up to 9 hours a day on rugged terrain for multiple successive days.  For these reasons, participants need to be in good cardiovascular condition with good balance and sound joints.  Recent experience with multi-day strenuous backpacking, scrambling or hiking, plus a positive attitude and a demonstrated ability to get along well with groups under demanding conditions, will be very important.   NOTE:  Your leader makes most of the arrangements and provides logistics support during the trip, but is NOT a tour guide!  As a Mountaineers group we will operate as interdependent, capable travelers making our way together and helping one another succeed and be safe. 

Trip Price Detail:   $2400 including all lodging, transportation, guide and most meals  The Mountaineers are prepared to absorb up to 10% exchange rate fluctuation but if exchange rates change in an unfavorable direction by more than 10% the Mountaineers reserve the right to pass the incremental expense of foreign exchange on to participants.  Your airfare (~$1500), travel insurance ($75-350), tips (~$100-150 per person) and a few meals in town (<$100) are not included.   

Registration Instructions:    If you are not transferring across from the 2020 or 2021 rosters, please submit the application form which will automatically be sent to the leader.   After the leader’s approval, go to the trip listing and click the REGISTER button to pay the 50% deposit and hold your space on the roster. Registration will close on September 1, 2021 or whenever the roster fills. A place on the roster can only be held with payment of the deposit.   The final payment due date will be announced by the leader as the outfitter’s payment schedule is finalized.


Supplemental Information

Cancellation Policy:   UPDATED:  If you cancel before March 1, there will be a minimum cancellation penalty (passed on from our outfitter) of 78 euros plus $19 per person per segment (at the euro-USD exchange rate on the day).  Final payment of $1200  will be due by March 1 , and if you cancel after that date then  approx $1600 will be deducted from your $2400 refund (amount to depend on how late you cancel and how many people are left on the trip at that time).   If you cancel less than 15 days before the trip no refund will be made. The cancellation penalties may be waived if someone takes your place on the adventure, but the agreed refund would only be paid after the new person is fully registered and has paid the full amount.  


Trek the Best of the Lycian Way on Turkey's Mediterranean Coast

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

After receiving your deposit, the leader will send out a series of letters or emails providing information to help participants succeed on the trip, including recommended and required gear, recommended maps and guidebooks.


Trip Reports